Answer Provided by Dr. Kasey Li
April 2, 2008
MMA is performed above the vocal cords, thus it should not affect your singing. However, I always tell professional or serious singers that as sound travels from the vocal cords to the lips, it is affected by the soft tissues of the throat/mouth. The resonance can be different depending on the floppiness of the tissues. Sometimes a patients may have lots of floppy tissues and the voice may sound quite muffled. When the floppiness of the tissues are reduce by surgery, the voice actually becomes more clear and less muffled... Having said this, I would tell you that the likelihood of changing singing voice is very unlikely. However, singing requires lots of jaw movement with a good range of motion. The jaw range of motion is going to be limited for a few months after MMA, thus normal singing probably will not return for a few months.
When MMA is performed, esthetics is always taken into consideration. Since everyone looks different, the esthetic issues are also different. There are certainly ways to try to maximize the airway improvement and minimize esthetic compromise. I usually offer presurgical computerized projections regarding postsurgery esthetics if requested. However, it is not very accurate at all.
Finally, although genioglossus is often mentioned with MMA, I only performed simultaneous GA about 20% of the time. There are varying factors for me to decide to do the GA at the same time. My feelings are that GA is usually not necessary since MMA is already improving the airway to a maximum extent.